A Week in the Life of an Agile Coach – Wednesday

9:30am – Oops, overslept a bit, but yesterday was pretty busy so I’m glad I got some rest.  I head over to the A/V room, grab a projector, stop at the cafeteria to grab some wake-up juice and then across the building for our retrospective and iteration planning.

10:15am – We usually skip the standup on iteration planning day and since the team needed to travel to the head office for the demo yesterday, we all agreed to do our retrospective today.  Normally we would go right into the retrospective after the demo, but this worked better for the team and they suggested it and all agreed to it.

Retrospectives are new to the team, so we’re following the typical “what went well, not well and what to try” approach but we always start off by reviewing what we wanted to try from the last retrospective and see if it was still a valid improvement and if so, what was the progress.

We finish the retrospective, have a quick break and then get into planning.   The first 2 or 3 sessions were pretty painful but everyone is starting to get a better feel of how to interact with each other.  The team is having a hard time breaking out one of their stories so I suggest that they create one general development task, pair up when they do it and then jot down some notes while working on it.  I figure this will help them for the next time and give them some ideas about how to break up future stories and they generally agree.

I offer to enter all the tasks and hours into the tool but mention that at some point it would be ideal to rotate that duty each iteration between team members.  That will help keep everyone interested and remove their dependence on me, plus it’s pretty simple and everything I do for the team is something they can’t do on their own.   This is especially important given the strict waterfall background where they’re just used to being handed tasks and relying on a PM to do this type of work.

2.30pm – After ordering on some pizza for lunch, planning is finished and the team gets to work.  Just before we leave the planning meeting I remind the team to start on the highest priority story first and make sure that they don’t start all 6 stories they committed to like they did last time.  They were able to recognize that they felt rushed at the end to finish everything and this approach allows them to finish something and move on as well as allow the business the opportunity to pull out a lower priority story if something more important popped up.  If the team hadn’t started the story, there’s no waste to worry about.

3:30pm – I’m feeling pretty worn out from the previous 2 days and with a 4 hour training session in the morning, a mid-town meeting after training and back to the satellite office after that, I decide to call it a day.  The team had agreed that core working hours were 10 – 3, so I check with them before heading out to make sure there isn’t anything else they need.

On the way home I give my mentor a call to update her on the team’s progress and I ask her if she will attend the training tomorrow to evaluate me and point out how I can improve the delivery of the class.  She gives me an update on progress with the team environment we’ve been trying to get setup for a couple of months now and progress on the new team that is starting soon.

Sometime in the evening – I take some feedback from earlier classes and, based on the audience I am expecting tomorrow, I try and come up with some other examples that might be more relevant to drive the material home.  I toss down some internal blog post ideas, pack up my class materials and head off to bed.